Safe Return to Learning

The District’s Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan 

Updated 9–17–21

The Sauk Rapids-Rice School District believes that in-person learning is best for students' learning and overall student well-being, while acknowledging that the threat of the Coronavirus has placed great difficulties and uncertainty on our ability to provide face-to-face instruction as our sole method for teaching. This plan is designed to be flexible and responsive as new information becomes available. Strategies were developed based upon guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). 
The Sauk Rapids-Rice School District is committed to providing a safe and healthy place for all students to learn and grow.  To ensure the spaces in Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools remain safe and healthy, the district has developed this Safe Return to In-person Learning Plan. Administrators, educators, staff and students are all responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 which requires the cooperation of all employees, students and the community. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of all persons across the school district.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Guiding Principles and Core Values
As part of the planning process, the district leadership team established guiding principles and core values to shape the Safe Learning Plan.  

Guiding Principles:

  • Ensure the health and safety of our students, families and staff by adhering to requirements provided by the Center for Disease Control, Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education

  •  Remain focused on student learning by developing student-centered instruction that meets the individual needs of students and families in an environment that has finite resources while still addressing the whole child

  • Comply with local, state and federal laws and regulations, and collective bargaining agreements

  • Maintain fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget

  •  Collect, review, and respond to up-to-date data and information from stakeholders

  • Follow MDE Guiding Principles

Core Values:

  • Care and well-being of staff, students, and families

    • An inclusive, safe, caring and engaging learning environment that builds relationships and  promotes shared responsibility for performance and innovation

  • Equity and inclusion for students

  • Quality instruction that includes 

    • Differentiation

    • Authentic and Timely Feedback

    • Assessing students early on, to learn more about where they are in their learning and what data-driven decisions need to be made to support learners

  • As a Professional Learning Community, teachers are engaged in collaborative teaming and self-directed professional development (personalized learning--teachers own their learning) 

    •  A culture of continuous learning and growth in a caring, collaborative, and supportive environment

  • Communicate accurate information in a timely manner

  • Follow the requirements of the CDC, MDH, and MDE

  • Transparency and good stewardship of resources

  • Effective ongoing communication and outreach to students, staff, families and community members

    • Effective partnerships between students, staff, families and community members

    • Commitment to revisit this plan at  minimum every six months and more frequently as needed.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Planning and Preparations
The Sauk Rapids-Rice District leadership team has revised the previous Safe Learning Plan to reflect a Safe Return to In-Person learning plan for the 2021-2022 school year. Conditions and circumstances that are specific to school districts include:

  1. protocols for guests and visitors

  2. additional protections and protocol for sanitation and hygiene

  3. additional protections and protocol for handwashing

  4. additional protections and protocols for distancing and barriers

  5. additional protections and protocols for access to district buildings

If any individual is in need of an alternative format of the plan, please contact Dr. Holly Schoenherr, Director of Human Resources and Administrative Services at (320) 258-4703 or

Communication Methods
The district will utilize the 2021-2022 Return to In-person Learning Webpage for updating families, students, staff, and the community and to post the SRR Return to In-person Learning Plan,  In addition, the District and Building Notification Systems will be used for regular communication updates. 

The COVID-19 Program Coordinator, District Nurses, and Building Contacts are identified below. These individuals will be involved in identifying lessons learned, challenges, and further preventive activities to be shared with stakeholders.

District COVID-19 Coordinator:                District Nurses:
Dr. Holly Schoenherr                                     Amanda Pflipsen
(320) 258-4703                                            Sue Cook

Building COVID-19 Contacts:
Sauk Rapids-Rice High School - RuthAnn Alvord
Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School - Jessica Efraimson 
Mississippi Heights Elementary School - Deb Tischmak 
Pleasantview Elementary School - Julie Cariveau and/or Carly Finch and/or
Rice Elementary School - Jody Silbernick
Hillside/ECFE - Alison Ward 

Positive COVID-19 Test Result, Health Screening, Close Contact Notification/Family Choice Quarantine, Hygiene Practices

Positive COVID-19 Test Result
If a student or employee tests positive:

  • Contact the student’s school or employee’s building supervisor immediately.

    • Require the infected student and/or staff to remain at home until they have been released to return to school by their physician or have met the CDC criteria.

  • Symptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 can return to school after:

    • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery (as defined by no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms) AND

    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

  • Asymptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 can return to school after:

    • At least 10 days have passed since the date of test administration and the person remains asymptomatic

Sauk Rapids-Rice School District is required to report positive cases to the Minnesota Department of Education. Families should report a positive lab-confirmed case, and the individual must isolate for 10 days.

Health Screening
Students, parents and visitors  entering the building while school is in session will have temperature screened upon entering the buildings. Students and families will be informed of the importance of self monitoring symptoms.

Parents are expected to monitor students for the following symptoms and report these symptoms to the health office:

  • fever of 100.4 or higher

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • persistent cough

Students displaying any of the symptoms listed above will be sent to the nurse or designated school personnel. Students, staff, and others who are entering the health office are required to wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status or the reason for the visit.  This is in accordance with the Occupational exposure to COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, adopted by the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MnOSHA) in July 2021.

If a student registers a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more, is vomiting, has diarrhea, or a persistent cough, they will be provided a mask, separated from others to the best of the school's ability, and sent home. 

  • Students should not attend school if they are not feeling well.

  • Families are to call or email their student’s school to report symptoms if a student is ill. 

    • Sauk Rapids-Rice High School: (320) 253-4700

    • Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School: (320) 259-8909A

    • Mississippi Heights Elementary School: (320) 252-0122

    • Pleasantview Elementary School: (320) 253-0506

    • Rice Elementary School: (320) 393-2177

    • Hillside: (320) 255-8910

Close Contact Notification and Family Choice Quarantine 
Close contact notification will be done through a two tiered approach.  

  • First Tier Notification will be sent to parents/guardians if their child was in the same classroom within 6 feet of an individual for 15 minutes or more who tested positive for COVID-19.  

  • Second Tier Notification will be sent to parents/guardians if their child was in the same classroom with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Notification of a positive case will be provided to all staff in the impacted building.

Instruction and Coursework for Students who are Isolating or Family Choice Quarantine

  • Elementary Level will provide access to instructional materials

  • Secondary Level will utilize Schoology to access course materials.

Family Choice Quarantine
Quarantine is not required; however, if you choose to quarantine, the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends the following:

  • Return to school after seven days, with a negative PCR COVID-19 test* administered 5 days after exposure and no symptoms;

  • Return to school after 10 days with no symptoms; or

  • Return to school after 14 days with no symptoms.

Student absences due to quarantine are considered excused. Your student’s teacher(s) will determine and communicate how school work will be assigned for days missed, and may range from picking up materials at the school to delivery of materials electronically.
Other Recommendations

If your student does not quarantine and returns to school following exposure, MDH recommends that they wear a face covering indoors for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
Exposed                                                          MDH Recommendations
Fully Vaccinated                                                Test 3-5 days after exposure.
Not Fully Vaccinated                                        Test immediately, and again 3-5 days after exposure if the first test was negative.
Had COVID-19 within 90 days                       Monitor for symptoms and stay home if sick 

Hand Hygiene Practices and Basic Prevention Measures        
Infection and prevention measures will be implemented in all Sauk Rapids-Rice Public School buildings. Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools will provide instruction, signage, facilities, and supplies to encourage regular hand washing and sanitizing. This practice is consistent with MDH: Hand Hygiene ( 

  • Teachers will work with students to teach and model proper hand hygiene practices. In addition there will be signs in all handwashing locations that provide clear guidance on how to properly wash hands. Throughout the day, students will have the opportunity to wash their hands; in the absence of a hand washing station, students will have access to hand sanitizer.

  • Hand washing/hand sanitizing guidelines and covering coughs and sneezes among students and staff will be reinforced. 

    • If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer will be available.

    • Provide sanitizing stations throughout each of the buildings.

      • To the extent possible students will be supervised while using hand sanitizer

  • In key areas throughout the school signs will be posted on how to slow the spread of COVID-19 and teach students how to stop the spread of germs. 

  • Students will be instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and to avoid touching their face, particularly their mouth, nose, and eyes with their hands.

Face coverings
Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools will review MDH, CDC, and MDE guidance regarding face coverings for Pre k-12 Schools and adjust face covering requirements as guidance changes or local data requires.

  1. Face coverings are recommended, but not required, for all students (ages 2 and up), staff, and visitors to district facilities.

  2. Face coverings are required on all public transportation, for all passengers (ages 2 and up) and drivers, including school district transportation per federal mandate.

  3. As stated above: Students, staff, and others who are entering the health office are required to wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status or the reason for the visit.  This is in accordance with the Occupational exposure to COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, adopted by the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MnOSHA) in July 2021.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools encourages students, employees, volunteers, and visitors to consult with a trusted medical professional and to follow the advice of the medical professional in regard to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, while also taking into account any sincerely held religious beliefs.

Recommended Testing

Social Distancing
Social distancing of at least three to six feet will be encouraged between employees, students, and visitors to the extent possible.

Instructional plans will be created to limit the sharing of materials, limit sharing of equipment, and maintain social distancing to the extent possible.

Drinking Fountains
Drinking fountain access will be limited to bottle-filling stations, and students will be encouraged to bring refillable bottles to school.

Drop-off, Pick-up and Delivery Practices and Protocol
The district has implemented procedures related to the drop-off and pick-up of students before, during and after the school day. Parent drop off and pick up will be at the school entrances/office.  The district is asking that parents not bring their child(ren) to the classroom.

Appropriate Accommodations
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies have been provided.  To learn more, parents/guardians should contact his/her child’s case manager.

Cleaning and Disinfecting
Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools has implemented a regular schedule and checklist for cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces (desks, tables, handrails, doorknobs, etc.), shared items, shared equipment, and high traffic areas. Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools will continue to perform other routine environmental cleaning according to established schedules and procedures. Appropriate and effective cleaning and disinfecting supplies have been purchased and are available for use in accordance with product labels, safety data sheets and manufacturer specifications, and are being used with required personal protective equipment for the product. This policy is consistent with CDC: Cleaning Your Facility and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) List N for products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. See EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures

  • Desks will be cleaned daily and disinfected following a positive case of COVID-19

  • Conduct deep cleaning prior to students/staff returning to school.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day. 

    • Ensure safe and correct application of all disinfectants.

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces throughout the day (door handles, sink handles, shared objects) to the extent possible.

    • Disinfect classrooms and spaces following positive COVID-19 test results.

Training regarding the cleaning and disinfecting of all buildings will occur throughout the year and as new employees are hired. 

Indoor Facilities, Utilities, and Ventilation
Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools has evaluated the operational capacity of indoor ventilation systems and developed a plan to increase and maintain ventilation provided throughout indoor spaces. Steps will be taken to increase the intake percentage of outside air to increase dilution of contaminants, and maximize recirculation, whenever possible, while maintaining indoor air conditions. In the absence of effective mechanical ventilation, steps will be taken to increase natural ventilation as much as possible, including opening windows when possible and safe. This plan is consistent with applicable Stay Safe Industry guidance, and Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools has consulted the resources in applicable industry guidance and others, as necessary, in developing this plan.

  • The ventilation plan includes continuous monitoring of the HVAC systems and responding to any malfunctions.  These systems will be operational when spaces in buildings are occupied.        

  • Training around operating and troubleshooting the HVAC system will be provided to all appropriate employees. This ongoing training will include intermittent and responsive professional development of the building automation system.    

Additional Information

  • Protocols for visitors in buildings during the school day

    • Visitors/Volunteers will be permitted if there is an academic purpose.

    • Visitors/Volunteers will not be permitted in lunchrooms during lunch times. 

    • Parents will not be walking kids into school, except for before/after school programs.

    • Parents are encouraged to call/email in advance when feasible.

    • Visitors/Volunteers should stay home if they are not feeling well

Administrators, managers, and supervisors are expected to monitor the implementation of the plan and report discrepancies to the Human Resources and Administrative Services Department.  All administrators, managers, supervisors and staff are to take an active role and collaborate in carrying out the various aspects of this plan, and update the protections, protocols, work-practices and training as necessary. This plan has been reviewed by the Superintendent of Schools.

Public Feedback
Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools provided this updated plan for public input on June 18, 2021.  Feedback was considered in the revisions of the plan presented to the Sauk Rapids-Rice Board of Education on August 9, 2021.

For more information, please visit our website at
Contact the District COVID-19 Coordinator Dr Holly Schoenherr with questions or concerns: or 320-258-1809


Download the full Return to In-Person Learning Plan

Keeping all participants (students, coaches, officials and others) healthy and having opportunities to participate in education-based activities and athletics is critical and important. Below are recommendations for Minnesota State High School League member schools to consider as they develop COVID plans to be implemented at the local level. 


*The information is true and accurate at this time. The district will follow requirements from the state and state health department with regards to COVID-19.  All changes will be in red in downloaded version of plan.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Schools

Top Three Things You Need to Know This Week

District parents/guardians, students, staff, and stakeholders the Top 3 Things You Need to Know is a weekly communication, sent on Fridays, designed to keep you updated about Covid-19 information, protocols, and guidance at a glance.

*The information is true and accurate at this time. The district will follow requirements from the state and state health department with regards to COVID-19.